Being a Mommy can be tough. I admit, along with Mommies and other people everywhere, that sometimes I just completely mess up with my kids. I know that when I choose a battle, as their parent, I need to win it. An older and more seasoned mother gave me that advice once. But, sometimes I choose my battles all wrong. Sometimes I inexplicably dig my heels in on some insignificant issue. Some ridiculous stance that has no meaning beyond “Mommy said so” — and I’m the Mommy in the room. Sometimes it’s about not wanting to stop what I’m doing. Sometimes it’s about being tired. Sometimes it’s about being tired of being needed. Sometimes it’s about wanting to be in charge at any cost. Sometimes it’s about being annoyed. Sometimes it’s about being ornery with some frustration entirely unrelated. Whatever it’s about, it’s almost always a stubborn, stand your ground, kicking and screaming tantrum. Mine. Not theirs.
Yeah, it’s an internal tantrum. It occurs in my thinking where I insist I’m in charge. Where I scream that it’s my way and everybody’s gonna know it. On the outside I may speak with a more rational facade that “mommy said no,” or “you need to obey,” or “mommy’s not going to change her mind,” or “this is all you, sweetie.” But on the inside, the bottom line is “this is what I want to do.” And we’re going to do what I want to do. My way.
And later, when the tears of this particular battle have been shed and the disappointment absorbed, I realize. That was all ME. Being an idiot. Focusing on something silly and staking my whole world at that moment on it. For in that moment, my world became about some stupid bandaid or special sippy cup or the time to rewind or the extra handful of cheese from the fridge, or whatever they wanted that I wouldn’t give. I let my whole world be about stupid instead of about them.
I chalk it up to misplaced frustration, or an overworked day or just a bad mood. I own it. And I go back to them. I give them what they wanted. That silly thing that mattered to them, but somehow mattered to me more than those amazing little hearts. And I tell them. Mommy tries to do it right, but sometimes I handle it all wrong. Mommy wants the very best things for them, but sometimes I make the wrong choice. And I tell myself again. Sometimes mommy messes up. All mommies do. All kids do. All people do. And their whole lives won’t be colored by that moment when Mommy did it all wrong. Their hearts and minds and spirits are way too big and wonderful for that.
In those moments I realize that perhaps the greatest lesson I teach them is that Mommy isn’t perfect. That imperfections make us real. They show us we feel and think and choose — even if it’s all wrong sometimes. And in feeling and choosing and thinking, we gain the unexpected privilege of offering compassion and patience and forgiveness and mercy.